web analytics
July 23, 2014 / 25 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



Kristallnacht: A Family Recollection

By:
Front-Page-110813

On the night of November 8-9, the Nazis, even before the diplomat died, began murdering Jews who had been incarcerated in the concentration camp at Buchenwald. At least seventy were killed.

Starting just after midnight on November 10 and continuing throughout the day, paramilitary Stormtroopers of the SA Sturmabteilung (Storm Division) – some in their uniforms, others in civilian clothes – attacked Jews and Jewish property in a frenzy of destruction. Within minutes of midnight, nine of Berlin’s synagogues were set on fire. In Vienna, murderous SA thugs rampaged across the city. Nineteen synagogues and some seventy other Jewish institutions were torched and clouds of smoke shrouded the city. A reported 22 terrified Jews committed suicide amid the terror.

A wave of violence and murder swept across Germany and Austria. From the largest of cities to the smallest of hamlets – anywhere there were Jews or Jewish property – destruction was wrought. All told, more than 1,000 synagogues were ransacked and burned, at least 91 Jews were murdered, and tens of thousands of Jewish homes and businesses were vandalized. The Stormtroopers rounded up 30,000 Jewish men and imprisoned them in the concentration camps of Sachsenhausen, Buchenwald and Dachau.

* * * * *

After tense days not knowing her husband’s fate, Rosa at last learned that the men had been imprisoned in Dachau, some 225 miles to the east. My father manfully shouldered the burden of caring for his mother, his aunts, and their farms. He remembered, “That’s the way things were back then, we all just had to keep going.” And so he continued tending the livestock and fields “doing what we had to do to survive.”

After about six weeks, his father and uncles were released and returned home. Though my father was overjoyed at their return, the homecoming was tinged with great sadness. Philip’s health had been wrecked at the camp. It was very sad, my father recalled – “those months seemed to have aged my father by 10 years. His spirit was not broken but his health was.”

Before Kristallnacht, Philip had been hale and hearty but my father recalled how his complexion had turned sickly and how he suffered from a chronic cough and kidney difficulties. Philip somberly told my father of the terrible conditions at Dachau. The concentration camp guards had humiliated the Jewish prisoners; they were forced to stand for hours at a time in the wind-lashed camp parade ground and ordered to engage in calisthenics as the guards howled with laughter. At times they were forced to perform exhausting nonsense work, digging ditches only to immediately refill them and carrying heavy stones from one place to another for no reason.

His face stricken, Philip also told how the guards periodically executed “problem” prisoners and tortured others while the rest were forced to watch standing at attention. Philip had often given my father advice when he had to fight anti-Semitic bullies and now he had more. “Stay brave, keep your faith and don’t give up,” he counseled. “When you are cornered, say to yourself ‘Ivri anochi.’ That will help as things get worse.” And, indeed, life for Germany’s Jews did worsen.

Eleven months after Kristallnacht, the world was at war and the Jews remaining in Germany were trapped, including my father and his parents. In October 1940, they along with 15,000 other Jews from Southwest Germany were deported to internment camps in southern France. There my father lost his parents, his uncles and twenty-five other members of his extended family. Heeding his father’s advice of not giving up, he eventually escaped from a camp and joined the French Underground to fight the Nazis. At war’s end, considering Europe a graveyard for Jews, he emigrated to New York where he married and raised a Jewish family.

In all the years after the war, he returned only three times to his birthplace for brief visits, to show his family the home of his youth and to ensure that the village’s Jewish cemetery was treated respectfully. He refused to spend a night on German soil.

On his last visit some twenty years ago, my father took me to the place where his childhood synagogue had stood before its destruction on Kristallnacht. Now the site was just a vacant lot with a tiny plaque nearby to mark it. My father’s face was sorrowful as he reflected how important this site had been for the vanished Jewish community.

About the Author: Ed Lion is a former reporter for United Press International now living in the Poconos.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Kristallnacht: A Family Recollection

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Wounded Golani commander returns to his troops on July 22, 2014.
Golani Commander Proves Why the Unit is Known for Bravery
Latest Indepth Stories
Haredi soldiers of the Neztah Yehuda Battalion fight for Israel while maintaining Torah study in the army,

We mourn the dead, wish a speedy recovery to the wounded, and pray that God guides the government.

The Israel Test

Charges from the court of world public opinion and their refutations.


It is up to our government to ensure that their sacrifices were not made for short-term gains.

.

Supporting Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, has become dangerous in Malmo.

Proportionality Doctrine:The greater the military gain the greater the justifiable collateral damage

Regional pro-US Arab countries rely on Israel as a deterrence to rogue Islamic regimes.

He has always supported the underdog, once even quite literally, legislating a law that prohibits the abandonment of pets.

Temech is about providing a community – a place where religious women can learn, collaborate and refresh themselves with like-minded people.

Netanyahu has decided that the lives of Israeli are more important than looking good for Obama, U.N. and the NY Times.

Many Jews join the Israel-haters with their progressive ideology and politically correct obsessions.

“The will to triumph is a prerequisite for victory.” Abba Kovner

How can you run away from Israel and all the things that have shaped your life?

It’s as if Hamas has pulled a page out of Pharaoh’s handbook.

“Am HaNetzach Eino Mefached Mi Derech Aruka” (An eternal people doesn’t fear the long journey).

Isn’t it comforting to know that our God loves life, grants life, and promises eternal life?

More Articles from Ed Lion
Bar mitzvah boy Ed Lion, flanked by his parents.

The risks were great, but certain death awaited them if they remained. The gamble paid off, though the family was separated for the next four years of the war.

Roy Rogers in 1942 shortly before joining the Royal Armored (tank) Corps.

Beyond the severe discomfort there was also the danger of getting sunk by enemy submarines prowling the seas.

As his bomber lost altitude with the ground rushing up, my father remembered his last thought: “How am I going to get out of this?

Seventy-five years ago on November 10 the Nazis unleashed a wave of terror, destruction and death known as Kristallnacht upon Germany’s Jews, a fearsome presage of the Holocaust. On that day, the childhood of my then-12-year-old father, Kurt Lion, of blessed memory, was abruptly and savagely ended.

Forty years ago this week, Jews the world over watched in agony as Arab terrorists kidnapped and eventually massacred eleven Israeli Olympic athletes. The International Olympic Committee, bowing to Arab pressure, has repeatedly refused these Israelis a proper commemoration. But we as Jews ought to pay them the tribute of remembering their individual lives, deeds, and accomplishments.

Half a century ago in May, Israel hanged Nazi war criminal Adolph Eichmann for overseeing Germany’s extermination of six million European Jews, fully one-third of the world’s prewar Jewish population. The murder of the six million staggers the mind. Such a vast breadth of our people, each of them with his own individual dreams, loves and aspirations, exterminated.

Judaism holds that nothing happens by chance, that everything is orchestrated by Hashem. And so it was long ago on a Sunday morning, about a month after Pesach when my father ran an errand for his parents.

This is the story of two Hungarian Jews and their diametrically opposed responses to the unimaginable horrors of the Holocaust. The reactions and their consequences for Israel and the Jewish people to this day bear examination.

    Latest Poll

    Israel's Iron Dome Anti-Missile System:





    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/front-page/kristallnacht-a-family-recollection/2013/11/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: